Blog

#LevelUp with the Salesforce Community

How One DevAdmin #LeveledUp at Dreamforce

dreamforce

More than one person has described Dreamforce to me as going to Summer camp, where you get to reunite with all the friends you haven’t seen for the past year. While this might not be the best way to convince your boss to let you attend this conference-to-end-all-conferences, it does highlight one of the most valuable products Salesforce has to offer: the community.

Yes, the hands-on-training sessions are great learning tools, and the keynotes are always an exciting look at what’s coming up in future product releases. But when you’re back at your office, sitting in front of your computer, baffled by the Process Builder that keeps inexplicably failing, who’s going to help you?

Answer: all those friends you see every year at Dreamforce.

Whether you post your question in the Success Community, Developer Forum, Power of US Hub, or call in to one of the dozens of office hours hosted by Salesforce users like you, you have a wealth of access to people who’ve stared at that same Process Builder and want to help you be successful.

So go ahead, give us your toughest questions, your seemingly insurmountable Salesforce challenges. We’ve got a community of thousands that wants to help you #LevelUp.

How NiM #LeveledUp at Dreamforce

What we have Learned and how NiM #LeveledUp at Dreamforce '16

dreamforce

Dreamforce '12 was my first Dreamforce. My focus that week was on spending time with the NiM team, individual empowerment, and skills acquisition. In addition to meetings with my team, I had a long list of sessions to attend and I scurried all over campus to be sure I was at the "must do" events. By the third day, I had learned a ton, but I was WORN OUT! I had also missed a key opportunity to build community.

While Salesforce.org offers ways to build community online through the Power of Us Hub and the Success Community, Dreamforce just can't be beat for connecting in person. The connections I made at Dreamforce '15 provided a source of inspiration and encouragement that lasted the whole year!

For Dreamforce '16, my goal was simple: have five meaningful conversations.

Some of these conversations were with old friends, some with folks I knew from the Power of Us Hub but had never met in person, some with strangers. I find myself thinking daily about these conversations and how I can allow those conversations to take root and shape NiM -- and me -- this coming year.

Cloud TnT: Dreamforce 2016 and All The Things

cover170x170

A PODCAST FOR NONPROFITS USING SALESFORCE. With Tim Lockie, Tracy Kronzak, and Joni Martin.

One week after the week of Dreamforce 2016 ends, Cloud TnT reflects on our experiences and what's next. Lots of shout-outs to our friends and family, with thanks to our listeners and sponsors. 

dreamforce

Dreamforce 2016 and All The Things

Learn Salesforce to #LevelUp your Career

Are you ready to #LevelUp your Career?

career Three years ago, my family and I made the decision to relocate from Houston, Texas to northern New Hampshire for my husband’s job. For those of you who have never been to New Hampshire, let’s just say there aren’t a ton of job opportunities available; especially when you live in the middle of the mountains and the cell service isn’t so great!

As luck would have it, a friend of mine mentioned her “Salesforce consulting firm” (Now It Matters) was looking for a part-time team member who could assist with training and development initiatives.

After applying and going through a short interview process, Now It Matters offered to facilitate my education of Salesforce, and extended a virtual job offer to me. The best part was I could do all of this from my home office!

Now, it’s two years later. I’ve survived a fierce winter (if you are contemplating two weeks in negative 30 degree weather, let’s just say “I don’t recommend it!”) and receiving my Salesforce Administrator certification (on my second attempt, but don’t tell anyone), my family and I moved back to Austin, TX. There, we decided it was time for me to return to work full time.

Little did I know that doors of opportunity would open up for me as a newly certified Salesforce Administrator! As I searched for a full time training and development position I realized the interview requests I received weren’t only a result of my 10+ years of work experience, but could also be attributed to Salesforce experience. With only two years of Salesforce experience under my belt I was a hot commodity!

As you may know, Salesforce is far-reaching and applicable for any industry. Plus, its support tools (Power of Us Hub, Success Community, Trailhead) are outstanding. The moral of my story is: If you have the opportunity to learn Salesforce, then take it! Who knows?! You may love Salesforce so much that you find yourself going down a completely different career path than intended. At the very least, Salesforce will help you #LevelUp and gain a competitive edge along your existing career path.

6 Things We've Learned while #LevelingUp Now IT Matters

A few days ago, someone commented on the “great team” that Now IT Matters has assembled. We do have a great team - and I’m glad that’s apparent to onlookers!

What may not be as apparent is how much work has gone into getting buy-in from our team, then moving in the right direction. We don’t claim to have a prescription for every business, but here are six things that have worked for us in an effort to develop the right team and help them #LevelUp:

We hire people, not positions. We focus on bringing in the right people, then positioning them as we discover what they are passionate about. When I brought Angela onboard, we were looking for a senior developer. After talking with her we changed direction, as we thought she should be a long term hire. Of course, that’s not to say that we don’t have full-time positions or roles, we certainly do, but we first want to find the right people.

We find brilliant staff. It might sound cheesy or arrogant, but with a small team every player counts and every member has to hold their own.

I think of our company as a team of varsity players; a team made up of the people who did all the work in group projects. “Brilliant” doesn’t necessarily mean high IQ; it means strong performance in specific areas.

Our hiring philosophy doesn’t only apply to our consulting staff; it includes all staff. For instance, our finance staff started with no experience in bookkeeping, but now are experts.

We also don’t need our staff to be “brilliant” at everything. It became apparent in the early days of our company that I shouldn’t be a project manager (or a manager at all!). As a result, we gave that responsibility to Angela who is “brilliant” at running our circus. Other team members are equally “brilliant”; Justin is amazing at focusing on sustainable business processes. Warren is extraordinary at solving almost any problem. Todd takes the time needed to do things the right way each and every time. Michelle plows through new challenges, then accepts the next one with a smile. Jenny has the mind of a forensic tax accountant. And, Renee breathes energy into our daily routine - even on Mondays.

We have a two-week trial period when bringing on new staff to determine if we want to invite them to join our team. Why? Because we have a strong culture and we know it is not a good fit for everyone. If a potential staff person's brilliance doesn't align with what NiM needs—we do what we can to help them find another organization with a better fit for their skillset.

We challenge everyone, set goals, and check in regularly. The kind of staff who succeeds at Now IT Matters craves challenge. We expect Now IT Matters will be the most challenging environment our staff have ever encountered. The best professional development combines challenge and support, so people shouldn’t be miserable and overwhelmed. Instead, coaching and learning requires pushing people past their own comfort levels; a delicate balance between having a bootcamp and a resort.

Our staff has professional goals which are tracked in work.com, then reviewed quarterly.

As a small company one of our challenges has been to carve out the time for quarterly check-ins, but the team has worked together to keep us on track.

We developed the expectation that we are all trying to improve, so we submit feedback to one another in various ways to improve and we provide recognition when we see someone doing something well.

We value aptitude over experience. Most of our staff didn’t know how to use Salesforce when they started working at NiM, so we looked for signs of aptitude rather than experience. One of the ways we observe aptitude is to intentionally assign tasks without instructions, training or direction. On the one hand, this might seem unfair, but it’s realistic as the issues our clients present don’t come with documentation. We want the staff who ask for help AFTER they search Google, make a list of potential solutions, and make a solid effort. An answer earned after putting forth an effort is inspiring to staff; they retain it and find accomplishment in answering their own questions.

We see failure as an option and expect mistakes. Justin had been with us a few months when we assigned him to a project that was very challenging. We told him that it was his job to make sure it was successful and if he was running into trouble, then it was his job to reach out to me. I knew he had the aptitude to handle the project, but he didn’t know that. By the end of the project he was more confident, more competent, and respected our judgment on what he could do.

We are upfront with our clients when we want to use a project to develop staff. We often provide discounts to clients who agree to “test drive” professional development projects. During this project, it was important that Justin knew the client’s satisfaction and project success depended on his team effort. Success without an option of failure is imaginary and tastes bland.

This type of professional development only works in a culture where mistakes can be recognized, owned, and learned from. Recently Michelle Regal wrote about The Fine Art of Failing, after making a mistake for one of our clients. Her reaction to that mistake is why she is such a good fit at Now IT Matters. (Her post for NTEN, Failing Forward, is also worth checking out).

We develop our staff even if it means they will outgrow our company. This is the hard one: the big myth that keeps some cultures from investing in their own staff.

What happens if they leave? I get it. Attrition is expensive.

Leveling up staff feels like you are simply increasing their marketability. However, developing staff is one of the best defenses of attrition as staff are less likely to leave a company that is intentionally investing in them. That aside, there are other benefits as well: for one, it improves what we can deliver (as Zig Ziglar once said that “The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is not training them and keeping them.”). Leveling up staff is part of our mission, it’s good for our staff, and it builds our reputation.

The last reason is very personal for me. It carries as much weight as any of the others: my best days at Now IT Matters are the ones where people grow. Whether it’s a client who wrote their first formula or a staff person who handled his/her first requirements gathering session, I’ve discovered that almost nothing brings me as much satisfaction as seeing people succeed in doing new things.

How about you? Has someone helped you #LevelUp?

Is it time to #LevelUp your Fundraising!?!

Justin Barss, NiM Director of Sales, spoke today at Dreamforce on using forecasting in Salesforce to #levelup your fundraising! Click here to learn how to #levelup fundraising for your nonprofit organization!

Now IT Matters is here to help your organization #LevelUp, reach out and we will get you in touch with Justin, (415) 690-8567. You may also want to set up forecasting for your nonprofit on your own by following the steps Justin outlined in his presentation. The presentation slides are available for download here. Full content courtesy of Tim Lockie.

#LevelUp for Success with NPSP Engagement Plans and Levels

#LevelUp for Success with NPSP Engagement Plans and Levels

The new Nonprofit Success Pack takes moves management to the next level (pun totally intended!) with native tools including Engagement Plans and Levels.

These amazing new tools provide development staff with great efficiency in managing cultivation efforts and planning for the next “ask.” Engagement Plans leverage the power of both Activities and Tasks (including Reminders and Recurring Tasks) which allow staff to easily spin up and follow a plan for cultivation without needing to install another app.

Staff can start with an Engagement Plan template - based on tested and proven paths - and then tailor Engagement Plans to align with a donor’s interests. Gone are the days of missing important steps in a cultivation process because you failed to create a Task!

My personal favorite new feature is NPSP Levels.

Being able to track giving levels, plus have future gifts automatically adjust a donor’s giving level, and then segment Contacts or Households for targeted marketing according to giving level have long been popular requests from our clients. We achieved this through a combination of tools including reports, roll-up summaries, custom fields, and Process Builder, but took several “extra” steps for something so fundamental to moves management.

Now, with NPSP Levels, development staff can easily set up Levels based on Minimum or Maximum Amounts for a variety of fields (see below) on the Account, Contact, or custom objects.

levels

And, as for the requirement that Levels update dynamically; now Levels are automatically updated nightly when batches run. If that’s too long to wait, then you can also push an update through the NPSP Settings “Run Batch” utility.

Add an Engagement Plan to the Level to launch a series of cultivation efforts when someone hits a specific Level, and then you have one efficient moves management machine!

I’m thrilled to introduce these new features to our clients and watch them #LevelUp for Success with the new Nonprofit Success Pack! I’d love to hear about how these new features impact your development team, so please send in your stories via Twitter: respond via Twitter!

PS –NPSP Product Managers: Over time, we’ve added handy dandy badges representing the different giving levels by using image formula fields. With the badges, development staff and volunteers have a simple visual cue to inform their real-time engagement with the client. Sounds like an idea for a future release to me!

The Tipping Point for Nonprofits Utilizing Salesforce

 

The Tipping Point for Nonprofits Utilizing Salesforce

The past three years have been incredibly exciting for nonprofits who utilize Salesforce to #LevelUp their development, volunteer, and programmatic operations.

tippingpoint1 In fact, the pace and breadth of change have been so spectacular that we are truly witnessing a Tipping Point in the evolution of Salesforce.org that will be felt for years.

Three distinct developments have contributed to this unique moment in time:

First, the Power of Us Hub launched in 2013.  This user-friendly online community quickly became the go-to resource for nonprofits utilizing Salesforce.  Did we mention it is 100% free!

Second, there was the revolutionary release of Cumulus (aka NPSP v.3) in 2014.  This upgrade re-aligned the architecture of the Nonprofit Starter Pack so that nonprofits could benefit more readily from the same features enjoyed by Fortune 500 companies.

In addition, the upgrade included goodies such as improved management of households, donations, and addresses as well as a centralized location for all NPSP settings and trigger management for the geeks out there.

Third, is the surprise release this week of the Nonprofit Success Pack, the successor to the original Nonprofit Starter Pack and first major upgrade of 2014’s Cumulus release.

According to Salesforce.org the Nonprofit Success Pack includes these new features to help nonprofits #LevelUp:

  • Campaign Advancements: Nonprofits can create personalized engagement plans that track the steps needed to engage with different types of donors and volunteers to improve fundraising and volunteerism. In addition, nonprofits can merge campaigns and reports to generate new groups that can be targeted with integrated marketing campaigns, helping nonprofits to engage more deeply with constituents.
  • Donor Management Advancements: New innovations that track employer matching programs, manage memorial gifts, and in-kind gifts so nonprofits can better manage their all of their donor relationships.
  • Constituent Levels: Nonprofits can create different levels of contact classification based on any number of variables (donations, volunteer hours, etc.) so that engagements can be tailored to many different kinds of supporters.
  • Lightning Ready: NPSP is built on Salesforce Lightning, providing a modern and intelligent user experience on any device, enabling nonprofits to work faster and smarter.
  • New Languages: NPSP is now available in three additional languages, Spanish, German and Japanese.

Source: http://www.salesforce.org/introducing-salesforce-nonprofit-success-pack

This is only the beginning according to Kevin Bromer, VP of Product Delivery at Salesforce.org, “We release a new version of the Nonprofit Starter Pack every two weeks and that’s a real part of our commitment to keep the product on the cutting edge.”

Of course, with so much positive change coming so quickly it can be tough to keep up and ensure your nonprofit is getting the most out of its investment.tippingpoint2

As always, we encourage nonprofits to stay on top of new developments through participation in the Power of Us Hub; however, if your nonprofit needs a little – or a lot – of extra help Now IT Matters will be here to assist.

 

 

#LevelUp Your Salesforce Automation with Process Builder

#LevelUp with Process Builder

In a world led by technology, automation is key to saving time and creating user-friendly processes.

Process Builder is a powerful tool that delivers automation in Salesforce and was specifically created to help you overcome the anxiety of and processes of automation.

Technology recognized best practices ensure you are maximizing opportunities with Process Builder, thus eliminating error messages and emails. The five best practices noted below will help ensure you make the most out of automating with Process Builder.

Tips & Tricks

  1. If you’re referencing related objects, make sure they exist.

When using information from fields in a related object to populate a new record, update an existing record, or set a variable in a flow. It’s important to ensure  the relationship exists before pulling information from the related record.

For example, if you want to update an Opportunity/Donation’s Close Date to  match the End Date of the Campaign it’s related to, you need to build and activate a Process Builder. If an Opportunity gets created without a Campaign, however, then a “Flow Trigger” error will occur. To avoid the error, ensure the Opportunity is related to a Campaign (see example below):

picture1

When evaluating formula versus using criteria simply add the following criteria in the formula:

NOT(ISNULL([fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"][Opportunity].CampaignId ) )

Including this additional criteria will prevent the Process Builder from looking for information that is not available.

  1. Use Set Conditions instead of formula criteria.

The old Salesforce adage of “clicks over code” applies here as well. The Set Conditions in Process Builder can do a lot more than what you may be used to with Workflow rules. For example, not only are the Set Conditions easier to read, but the validity is more stable than the formula builder.

Formulas are used for analyzing criteria that aren’t available in Set Conditions; the prior value of a field, for example. As a precaution, the formula editor in Process Builder does not have the same level of syntax/error checking as it does in Workflow and Validation rules. Therefore, formulas must be tested to ensure accuracy.

  1. Test and Deploy  Process Builder to a Partial or Full Copy Sandbox first.

Some want to rush the “go live” process; by activating a Process Builder in Production. It’s easy to do, but not efficient as it can creates errors and bad data that are difficult to reverse. Therefore, it’s important to  build first in the Sandbox. Finally, test, test, and test again before deploying to Production.

Note: When deploying Process Builder and using a change set the latest version of the Process will be saved as an “inactive” version. As a result, it is necessary to open the Process, activate it and then it will go live.

  1. Whenever possible, use the RecordType.Name instead of the ID in your criteria.

There is some debate around this issue, some say it’s  best practice to use the 18-character Record Type ID instead of a name. Names can be changed, but ID’s remain the same.

Now, if following best practice #3 to create a Process Builder in a Sandbox, the Record Type ID will change when you deploy it to production. The Record Type Name, in contrast, will stay the same. Minimizing the number of changes made in Production is preferable, but you will need to remember to update Processes if Record Type Names are changed.

  1. Keep track of your Processes and Workflow Rules.

There is a lot of overlap between what Workflow Rules and Processes can create overlap, so it’s a good idea to create a plan to help keep track of them and ensure a Workflow Rule and a Process are running in parallel.

The best way to ensure there is no duplication is to give priority to one rule/process over the other. For example, make it a priority to use Process Builder for all process automation unless it can only be done by a Workflow Rule (for example, sending outbound messages). Doing so will ensure the automated process is easy to locate. Or, keep track of the automated processes on a separate list or spreadsheet (which notes the object and identifies it as a Process or Workflow Rule).

 [/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]